Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th April 2000.

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Photo of Mr Donald Anderson Mr Donald Anderson Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee 12:00 am, 11th April 2000

The holding of free and fair elections is vital. Has there been any indication from the Government of Zimbabwe that they will be prepared to accept Commonwealth observers or monitors at those elections? Would my right hon. Friend confirm, along with the Commonwealth Secretary-General, that the only precedents for suspension from the Commonwealth have been when there has been a military coup in a Commonwealth country? Does he see any further scope for a role for an intermediary from a Commonwealth country, such as President Obasanjo or President Mbeki, because the vital interests of South Africa and the region as a whole could be threatened if there is a crisis of confidence among the white people of that area?